Digital Voice Recorders: Ratings of Sources
Rob Sandall offers a detailed roundup of digital audio recorders from Roland, Zoom, Tascam and Olympus, of which he makes some recommendations. Testing here is hands-on, complete with talking and guitar sound clips taken simultaneously on each recorder from the same session for comparison. Analysis is competent, and Sandall points out the specific strengths and weaknesses of each model. On the downside, some of the recorders -- including one of the recommended models -- are discontinued.
Bryan Gardiner provides a comprehensive roundup of the digital audio recorder market for TheWirecutter.com. The piece covers most budget-priced voice recorders available -- with price points of less than $100 -- and there is strong emphasis on clarity and value.
Amazon.com's users are eager to review and rate the products they've purchased, making it a good spot to track down consumer opinions about digital voice recorders. While some digital audio recorders attract only a handful of comments, others receive lots, in some cases hundreds, of reviews. As with most user review sites, the quality of the feedback can vary. Some reviews are highly detailed, others a line or two at best.
Thanks to its large, tech-savvy customer base, B&H's site is full of detailed customer reviews on digital audio recorders aimed at music- and audio-recording enthusiasts. Elsewhere on the site you will find reviews of voice recorders that are ideal for school and work. In addition to ratings, reviewers typically post whether or not they would recommend the voice recorder to a friend. Those reviewers verified as actually having bought the recorder are identified.
Jeremy Rue's rundown of digital recorders explores the strengths and weaknesses of each model, based on his own experiences and those of others using the devices during workshops at the Knight Digital Media Center at the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism. While Rue notes the positives and negatives of most models, no voice recorder is specifically recommended. Important specs are handily listed for each digital voice recorder, such as supported audio formats. Many of the recorders covered in this older review are still available, but others are discontinued.
Radio magazine has several reviews of digital audio recorders, primarily written by working broadcast professionals. The reviews are variable in quality, but provide valuable insights into how each recorder performs. No ratings are assigned, and finding the reviews takes a little patience as they are listed alongside reviews of many other types of gear.
At MusiciansFriend.com, digital audio recorders tend to get a few dozen reviews at best. However, users are often professional musicians or dedicated amateurs who've put their digital audio recorders through extensive practical use. Like user reviews everywhere, quality is variable, but some offer relatively detailed comments.
Customer reviews for digital voice recorders on Staples.com offer some excellent feedback and perspective from those who record meetings, interviews and general audio at home and in the office. A solid spread of mid-range and cheaper digital recorder models is included on the site. Reviews tend to be shorter and more to the point than we see elsewhere.
BestBuy.com's customer review base isn't anywhere as robust as at sites like Amazon.com. Most digital voice recorders only get a handful of reviews, but some draw more feedback than others.
Canadian business writer Susan Ward covers a range of digital voice recorders for About.com. The Zoom H4n is listed as the top pick, referencing CNET's review of the recorder which recommends the model for musicians and podcasters. Some of the other models in the article are discontinued, and it's not clear how much, if any, hands-on testing was used to determine the selections.